When most people hear the phrase “influencer marketing,” they immediately envision doling out big bucks to Kim K. for a meaningful promotion message to her millions of followers. They imagine artificial product placement that feels as inauthentic as it looks.
And that’s one way to look at it. However, most brands are going to find that these tactics cost a nice chunk of change with a sad return that will leave you making the Crying Kim face.
Influencer marketing is one of the fastest growing tactics in digital marketing, and while it may seem like a new fangled way to maximize social media, it’s actually a return to marketing’s origins: word of mouth. A departure from other digital advertising venues, influencer marketing helps create a genuine connection between your brand and your customers. You’re building brand loyalty the old fashioned way.
Social media audiences are rapidly growing–Facebook just reached a jaw-dropping 1.45 billion (yeah, billion) daily users. So it makes natural sense to explore innovative ways of getting in front of that captive audience.
A shocking 70% of Millennials are influenced by their peers in buying decisions. Influencer marketing gives businesses and brands a chance to identify and partner with the peer or celebrity that will influence buying decisions in your favor.
Strategy & Goals
The biggest barrier to influencer marketing for many companies is figuring out which influencer partners make the most sense for their brand. Which of those 1.45 billion users is going to have the most overlap of their own followers, compared to your ideal customer? (Hey! If you don’t know who your audience is or understand their buying habits, it’s OK. We can help with that too.)
Finding and partnering with the right influencer boils down to two key elements: budget and goals.
If your goal is purely revenue-driven, micro influencers are your ticket. Micro influencers have smaller follower bases however, this likely means they are more engaged and willing to take recommendations for purchasers. Most micro influencers will be affordable and may develop into long-term relationships.
If your goal is volume or brand awareness, a larger influencer will be a good fit. When you start looking at seven figure influencers it becomes less personal, but it will breed a buzz about your company. These transactions can become a little pricey and are more likely one-offs to promote a new product or expand into a new audience.
How is this successful?
Depending on what your end goal is there are several ways to track the impact an influencer has on your business.
Whether your goal is revenue generation or brand awareness, there are a handful of ways to track sales from an influencer. These methods can also depend on the channel your influencer is leveraging:
1. Unique Link Revenue
This method relies on the development of a referral program, which provides each influencer with a specific link to promote to their audience. This will give you an idea of direct revenue, although it may not be a perfect metric. In most situations there will be other conversions from the influencer it will just be reflected in organic and direct revenue generation.
2. Promo Code
In this method, we would develop a unique promo code that will be entered during the check-out process on an e-commerce site. With a promo code you will have to incentivize followers with an associated discount, but this tactic is very effective for podcasts and Instagram-based influencers.
The execution of these campaigns is where things can get a little hairy. Eventually you will have hundreds of emails in your inbox, your Gmail folders will no longer feel organized and you won’t be able to tell the difference between Kim K. & Cardi B.
Influencers can be hard to identify, especially since it can be difficult to know if they’re even open to working with brands. That’s where our software relationships come in. There are a number of online platforms which host larger influencer networks that are searchable by keyword, engagement rate, and follower base. It makes the whole initiative less daunting and more manageable.
Outside of purchasing a costly software subscription, the easiest route is to roll up your sleeves and start searching Instagram. Use popular hashtags in your industry to zero in on users that may be suitable influencers for your audience. They’ll need to meet certain standards for your brand, goals, and overall strategy. Once you’ve identified your potential influencer, you send a direct message and begin the negotiation process.
This is where I tell you that the easiest way to launch your influencer marketing initiative is to let OOHology take the reins. We’ve got the software subscriptions, the negotiation experience, and the results to prove that we’re pros.
Expectations and Cost
What is wonderful about influencers is that everything is negotiable. Rates are set by the influencer, with no oversight from social media giants like Instagram or Facebook.
Build out your deliverable expectations upfront and work with influencers that comfortably fit in your budget. Their work is scalable, so whether you’re looking for a single Instagram post to promote your new product or a flight of 50 Instagram posts with a live feed every day for the next six months, there’s likely an influencer that fits your needs and budget.
The most important aspect of closing a deal with an influencer is to have a written contract outlining all your expectations with clear direction for your influencer. This isn’t necessary for all relationships, it depends on the size of the ask. However, it is the easiest way to ensure you are getting everything out of the relationship that you expected.
TL;DR – Influencer marketing is both harder and easier than you might think. A good influencer relationship will make money moves, while a bad relationship will have you crying into your Starbucks and wondering where all that revenue went. Ready to learn more about implementing influencer marketing into your strategy? Holler at your girl.